Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DARPA, Harvard Create Soft Robots, Self‑Camouflaging Like Squid

Was the Internet DARPA's last useful, civilized invention? This time (h/t ellroon, from TPM), they've created at least 75 robots with soft bodies, not readily recognizable as technology (think pillows or rocks or whatever the background is; look at the TPM article's photos and video), in colors that change with the background they're on.

Can anyone think of a benign use for such a device? anyone? just one use? Me neither. These robots are good for spying on people in their private spaces... and not much else. Your tax dollars at work!

AFTERTHOUGHT: to the article's point that "Right now, the robots are attached to cords or 'veins' of liquid, but eventually, researchers hope to make them self-contained," commenter Elvan Poots responds with the thought that "[t]hey can also hope for an infinite supply of unobtainium to power them."


  1. While they don't appear to have much use right now it doesn't really matter. They are just experiments in how many different ways technology can be deployed. They, in themselves, may not turn out useful but they do shed light on a gray area in how best to deploy technology. It is not always that "pure research" comes off a useful directly.

  2. karmanot, fallenmonk - why does none of that comfort me? How many socially inappropriate or even hostile ways can technology be deployed? I don't want to have to worry about whether my throw pillows are spying on me! Spying is getting so easy and so cheap, government agencies will be tempted to do it all the time, just because they can get away with it. Then we'll all have to get some sort of device to create an EMP, shield all the computers and TVs and set it off once a week. Life in effectively 1984 does not appeal to me.



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